You aren't very big or strong yet, but that's okay. You're just a little girl! Momma Magda and Pappa Karl do all the hard work on the farm like cutting up wood and helping the big cow Chrissie plow the fields and carrying water from the river when it hasn't rained in too long. Your name is Grensel, and you love your parents. They're always happy to play with you, even if they have to do work most of the time. So you help with the weeding and threshing while they tell you stories and then you all get to eat a nice, big loaf of bread Momma cooked, or bean stew with some of one of the Gissen's chickens, or sometimes even delicious sweet fruit, in summer.
Most of the time you have to do chores and help take care of your brother and sister, who are both littler than you, but you do get a chance to do fun things sometimes. You play games with the neighbor kids and there's a feast on the holidays every year and in the winter there isn't much work but you're mostly stuck inside but sometimes you get to go play in the snow. Your very favorite memory is the time Pappa took you out into the woods to his secret tower one summer day. You waited until night and climbed the tower and looked up at all the stars in the sky. It was the most beautiful thing you'd ever seen. Momma was so mad at him and said animals or demons might have gotten you, but he always said it was worth it.
You turn seven years old, and you have to start doing more and more kinds of chores now that you're big and strong enough. You have to get ready for having a farm of your own some day, and learn how it all works and what to do if the weather is bad and if there's a drought and how to plant and harvest all the different kinds of plants and a lot more. Pappa taught you how to tell good firewood from bad and when to run and hide in the forest. Momma taught you how to spin thread and mend clothes. You tried to teach your brother how to spin thread because it's boooooring, but he's too little to hold the distaff and too impatient to do it for long anyway. So you spin thread a lot, too.
You turn eight, and Momma and Pappa start talking about who you should marry when you turn fifteen. You don't want to marry anyone- You don't want to leave your family. But whenever you speak up about it they just smile sadly and pat your head and tell you That's How It Works and there's no arguing at all. Pappa pays for you to go to the priest's lessons twice a week last year and learn numbers and letters and things about the gods and magic. Magic! He couldn't teach anyone how to do any magic, except for a really long chant with hand motions that is supposed to keep you warm if you say and think it right? You never managed to get it to work. The reading and writing was kind of boring but they're always so happy and proud when you do well, so you tried your best anyway.
One day you get sick. It starts with a headache, and then you start wheezing and feel dizzy and run a fever. Your muscles start to hurt. They move your sister's bed out of your room and only come in wearing pieces of sacks over their faces and boil all the house's water, like Priest Gunther says to at sermons. You've been sick before, and you don't feel much worse last time you were sick, but this time your parents seem... Scared. They tell you everything is going to be fine and there's nothing to worry about, but they're scared and trying to hide it from you. Are you sicker than before? Is it different somehow, this time?